The Petrified Forest

1936, Drama, 1h 23m

13 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

In this film adaptation of the Robert E. Sherwood play, a drifter, a waitress and a notorious gangster cross paths in the Petrified Forest region of Arizona. Alan (Leslie Howard), a destitute writer, goes into the diner where Gabrielle (Bette Davis) works. Gabrielle dreams of studying art, and she and Alan connect as they talk about Europe and she tells him her ambitions. But gangster Duke Mantee (Humphrey Bogart) shows up and takes the customers hostage.

Cast & Crew

Leslie Howard
Alan Squier
Bette Davis
Gabrielle "Gabby" Maple
Dick Foran
Boze Hertzlinger
Genevieve Tobin
Mrs. Edith Chisholm
Porter Hall
Jason Maple
Hal B. Wallis
Executive Producer
Bernhard Kaun
Original Music
Sol Polito
Cinematographer
Owen Marks
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for The Petrified Forest

All Critics (13) | Fresh (13)

Audience Reviews for The Petrified Forest

  • Oct 13, 2018
    Such a beautiful movie; shamelessly romantic, with lovely moments from a pair of kindred spirits who cross paths (Bette Davis and Leslie Howard), and yet with artistry and depth as well. Despite being in different places in life, they have an instant connection, one that's based on the higher things in life, art and intellect. The setting is a deserted place in the middle of nowhere, Arizona during a sandstorm, which creates a wonderful atmosphere. While it's a little stilted at times, it allows all of the characters to speak from the heart. I loved listening to Howard waxing poetic while drinking whiskey, with Humphrey Bogart glowering over the group menacingly. The dialogue throughout the movie is interesting, and includes pointed commentary about America during the depression. Director Archie Mayo tells the story well, without a wasted scene, even if we can see where it's going a little too early. The film is a must for Bogart fans, it was his first big movie, and though he was 37, he looks youthful, raw, and lean. I loved the little moment early on when he grinds his jaws in anger while listening to someone. He's the antithesis of Howard's character, and yet both have a fatalistic sense about them. Genevieve Tobin adds depth to the film in the supporting role of the wife of a rich man. At first she appears shrewish and overly critical of her husband (Paul Harvey), but gradually we find that she too, had more fanciful dreams in life. Of course, the film really belongs to Davis and Howard, and they're wonderful. The kisses they share towards the end are very sweet too.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2018
    What if college educated types ruminated on the soullessness of society and chose to broadcast those thoughts to the world at large? Boring, right? How to "get 'er done" then? By making those ruminations palatable, even poetic, and hiding them in the story of a gangster-on-the-run! So Leslie Howard spouts poetic musings left and right, college professorial pipe thoughtfully in the side of his mouth. A young Bette Davis gazes at him soulfully, her eyes never so big (and yet there is zero heat between them). Bogie is on hand simply as the heavy, the Angel of Death, only present to promise a cessation of Howard's character's unending poetic ramble, and (by my reckoning) he takes too long. High-end drama, decently presented, if obviously.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2013
    Simultaneously hopeful and tragic "The Petrified Forest" presents a great character study of a self-loathing and unaccomplished intellectual. In fact, the film maybe hit a little too close to home for me at moments.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2011
    I'm disappointed that The Petrified Forest wasn't as good as I was hoping.It felt like it was over before it started & there was really nothing there anyways.Key Largo isn't exactly the same as The Petrified Forest but it is similar & worth watching more then this movie
    Brody M Super Reviewer

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